How Blue Coat Handles

By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2005-03-28 Print this article Print

Spyware"> ProxySG scans inbound Web traffic for known spyware signatures and does so at line speeds without noticeable latency. As a last line of defense, the system inspects outbound Web traffic for spyware transmissions and can identify which machines have infections and need cleaning.

Given the critical role IT plays in the hospitals operations, it was imperative that whatever solution Pelot chose be able to plug right into the network with a minimum of setup and configuration.

"I didnt need something that would add more complexity to the picture," Pelot said.

Denver Healths network is by no means simple. In addition to the 3,200 PCs, Pelots staff oversees more than 200 Windows servers, a few Unix boxes and 21TB of stored data—all connected by a Gigabit Ethernet backbone and fiber-optic connections. Throw in an intrusion detection system, intrusion prevention and anti-virus scanners, and you have a tremendously complex environment. The last thing Pelot said he and his staff wanted was another solution that needs a lot of care and feeding.

Pelot configured the ProxySG to limit Internet access to just business-related sites during the trial deployment. There was a bit of resistance from the medical staff, some of whom complained about the loss of freedom to roam the Internet, but Pelot and his staff explained that the restrictions were necessary to prevent spyware infections and resultant network slowdowns that had plagued the hospital for months. That reasoning mollified most users, who were happy not to wait 5 minutes to enter a drug order.

The result: After a month, none of the PCs had a single spyware infection. And Pelot has moved into a full-scale deployment of Blue Coats solution.

"Doctors and nurses have a lot of downtime. They love to look around the Internet, like everyone else," Pelot said. "But in an environment where were depending on the PCs to be fast and responsive, spyware can be a serious problem. Blue Coat has eradicated that."

Blue Coat executives said that more and more of the companys customers are coming to them with stories remarkably similar to that of Denver Healths. Many organizations have tried using desktop anti-spyware solutions, but most of those products are effective at cleaning machines only after theyve been infected; they do nothing to prevent infections. Not having a mess to clean up in the first place can save IT departments a considerable amount of time and money.

"The vast majority of our customers are coming to us with spyware problems. Most of them are telling us that 10 to 20 percent of their help desk calls are because of spyware," said Chris King, product manager at Blue Coat, based in Sunnyvale, Calif. "There are some outliers whose numbers are [greater than] Denver Healths. And I think in a lot of cases, the security staff isnt aware of those numbers."

To read about how a Michigan medical center handled the digitization of patient records, click here. For the IT team at Denver Health, Blue Coats solution has been the right medicine, Pelot said. He estimates that installing ProxySG will save the hospital nearly $200,000 in two years.

"I was not in a situation where I could wait. Our users are very happy right now. This is the first time weve gone 30 days without a major slowdown," Pelot said. "Can we allow the network to be down for a while? No. I dont think I could afford not to do this."

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.


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